God & Country: for generations, it has been the refrain of 'respectable' Christianity for many Americans, but is it really a Christian concept? What about the majority of the world's Christians who live outside the United States, many of them…
This sermon was given by Pastor David Bess at his congregation this July 6th, 2014.
Scripture Reading: Luke 4:16-21
We begin with the words of a well-known song:
My country tis of thee
Sweet land of liberty, Of thee I sing
Land where my fathers died
Land of the pilgrim’s pride
From every mountain side
Let freedom ring!
All the verses of this song are proclaiming the wonder of America, except the last verse. The last verse is a prayer – it is rarely sung.
Our fathers’ God to Thee,
Author of liberty, to Thee we sing
Long may our land be bright
With freedom’s holy light
Protect us by Thy might
Great God, our King!
I cannot overstate my excitement to promote Brian Zahnd’s latest book, A Farewell to Mars. I am passionate about the message of Jesus as it addresses all of life, including politics. I believe the message of Jesus was intensely political. The puzzle for us today is how to work it out in our unique socio-historical context. This is where Zahnd’s book is relevant to a part of the church that is blinded to its addiction to and endorsement of violence. Many others have made the case for peace, and many have done so by appealing to Jesus. Zahnd shares his journey, and in so doing, he subtly exposes the church’s infatuation with a power that is truly impotent to save the world.
As libertarians we embrace a politics of peace. Non-aggression is our one non-negotiable. We believe that free trade creates mutually beneficial transactions that promote prosperity for all parties involved. As Christians we believe that true individual freedom comes from faith in Jesus. Our commitment to peace is highly personal for us. A Farewell to Mars is about how the message of Jesus applies to human society. Jesus’ world was radically different from ours. He did not address the specific issues that preoccupy us today. Yet everyone who heard the claim “Jesus is Lord” understood that it meant emphatically that Caesar is not! As the saying goes, “Them’s fightin’ words!”
Zahnd expected to write this book when he was 70 years old. It arrived 15 years early when he had three grandchildren (to whom the book is dedicated). His reluctance to write it is evident on its first pages, where in a brief letter to the book itself, he writes, “I had to write you. You wouldn’t let me sleep until you were written.” Every page thereafter is simply thick with passion for the world-changing message of Jesus.
This guest post is by Rev. Donald Ehrke. He is a Libertarian, a former GOP campaign manager, and ordained minister living in Alexandria, Virginia. Many thanks to Donald for his excellent work! For guest post opportunities, please use the LCC Contact Page.
Before departing Springfield, Illinois for Washington, D.C., president-elect Abraham Lincoln remarked, “I now leave…with a task before me greater than that which rested upon Washington. Without the assistance of that Divine Being, who ever attended Him, I cannot succeed. With that assistance, I cannot fail.” Lincoln reiterated his confidence that God willed the preservation of the American union in his first inaugural address, “You have no oath registered in heaven to destroy the Government, while I shall have the most solemn one to ‘preserve, protect, and defend it.’”
After a year of unforeseen bloodshed, Lincoln grew less certain of the Union’s privileged status. Following the Battle of Antietam, Lincoln noted, “In great contests, each party claims to act in accordance with the will of God. Both may be, and one must be wrong. God cannot be for and against the same thing at the same time.”
It is bad enough that Republican warmongers like Mitt Romney, John McCain, Lindsey Graham, and Allan West are whining about the supposed cuts to the defense budget that are due to take place because of the failure of the congressional…